Child of Mars' Oil and Goldleaf Painting WIP

Hiya guys!.. Continuing my endeavor to paint luminous realism in my figurative oils, while still somehow subtly combining the aesthetics of the painterly excitement in impressionist colour, this piece incorporates the contouring line impressions throughout the figure that I have been exploring in recent works such as Original Sin Rebirth, Binary Movement and Backlite .. 
These contour lines also give me the opportunity to incorporate a subtle aesthetic representation of underlying theorized fundamental forces of nature like the supersymmetric string theory.

'Child of Mars' simply captures a tellurian progeny of Mars's prosaic moment of wistful contemplation..

'Child of Mars' completed on the easel.
Oil and Gold Metal Leaf on Gesso Primed Canvasboard.
Size: 7.4 x 5.1 Inches

Now if you were thinking that was a rather convolutedly complicated way to write an intro... 
I agree, and promise to desist forthwith (it's such fun though sometimes!)..

Love to see how one of my works (like this one) is created in almost real time? Do check out my 'On the Easel..' page on my website.. 

Meanwhile here's a full peek on...

How 'Child of Mars' was Created.

Cotton canvas was mounted on hardboard with several layers of gesso, the final layer applied thickly with a large palette knife. This gives a lovely knife-painted quality texture to the surface (a fav of mine when it comes to a base for my paintings). This surface texture was then accentuated when the ground was toned.

Preliminary Drawing and Toning the Ground.

The figure was drawn freehand with charcoal pencil with the intention of incorporating the gestural lines in the final.

There weren't really many gestural lines goin' on though..

Unfortunately the fixative I had used for the charcoal did not hold up as expected when toning the ground!

It was a shame time was lost drawing the figure, only to lose it at this early stage. However, the drawing had failed to have enough of the gestural quality I had envisioned to retain for the final anyway. Luckily, a shadow of the outline still remained; enough to act as a guide in removing the silhouette of the figure from the toned ground while it was still wet. This was done to create a luminous feel to the figure once complete.

Applying the Goldleaf.

Using my own gilding paste/size recipe (see more on this at Testing DIY Silverleaf Sealant, Size & Colour Palettes.) , the paste was applied and left to dry till suitably tacky (about 8 hours)  before laying on the goldleaf.

After another 8 hours, the access goldleaf was then ready to be brushed off and the edges tidied with a sharp pointed pen knife.!.

I usually seal the goldleaf with some stand oil+liquin, but this was not required as the goldleaf was given a bronzy finish with raw umber oil paint instead.

Underpainting the Figure.

Now a detailed underpainting of the figure could be painted with raw umber oil paint. I like to ensure each stage like this is as aesthetically pleasing as possible (while still achieving its purpose) in case I decide to leave any areas completely revealed or still visible under thin layers of paint in the final...

Before beginning the piece in colour, the model's photo was edited to create a cooler phthalo blue tinge to the light source, for my reference, with a graduation towards a warmer reddish alizarin crimson and even burnt sienna undertone in the shadows.. 

Digital Colour Sketch

The underpainting was also scanned onto my desktop so I could play with different colour compositions in photoshop. 

Starting to Paint. (with colour!)

With a strong image in mind for the final, I could choose a palette..

Oil Paint: Flake White Hue, Titanium White, Cad yellow pale, yellow ocher, cad red hue, permanent alizarin crimson, French ultramarine, phthalo blue, sap green & burnt sienna.

Medium: Refined Linseed Oil, Distilled Turpentine, Liquin.

The contouring lines of the figure were reestablished in charcoal pencil, and the first layer of paint laid in, thin enough so that these lines were still visible.

 I usually try to develop all areas of a piece at the same time to help me judge the relationship between the hues and tones of the whole piece as things progress.

The hair was established while the background was still wet, to achieve soft edges to her mane..

This palette was great practice as I still wrap my mind around the relative nature of hot and cool hues and how they change their temp depending on what hues they are juxtaposed against.. 
The shadows had to still be seen as receding despite being on the warmer side of the scale, so a delicate balance had to be maintained where the phthalo blue, though being a blue, is still on the warmer side of an ultramarine which is used in the shadows, helping the relatively warm reddish hues in the shadows to still recede, for example.. Sap green and alizarin crimson were used throughout the light and the shadow areas.

Despite already playing around with an initial rough colour sketch, this doesn't necessarily translate perfectly when creating the actual painting and a lot of trial and error still goes on. 
These missteps were easily wiped off and repainted however, till a result emerged that I was satisfied with.

I tried to maintain luminosity to the skin throughout by scumbling the paint in semi transparent layers, adding the stylistic contour lines to the figure near the end (wet on wet).

Here is a colour corrected scan (as close as possible to the original in real life) of the varnished completed painting!!

Child of Mars' Scanned and colour corrected
Oil and Gold Metal Leaf on Primed Canvasboard
Size: 7.3 x 5.1 Inches

Collect the original at: 'Child of Mars'
or an Archival Giclee Print at : Child of Mars' Archival Giclee Print



 Do drop me a comment if you have any questions!.. 
I'd love to hear your feedback / tips too!

Thanks for dropping by! :)


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